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Laburnum source (now resolved thanks).

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AJB Temple

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It is intriguing - pretty sure it is out of print but if you can get your hands on "The English Windsor Chair"by Thomas Crispin it may give some pointers. I had a copy but gave it away.

FWIW I think it was the late 1730's that the Gothic revival took place. It's certainly around then that Walpole who was one of the leading influences started coming to the fore.
Thanks. £25 used off amazon. So I have invested. even though I have far too many books on wood, antiques, tools and furniture.
 

AJB Temple

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Trevanion

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Having a bit of a sort out today and I found a small piece of Laburnum about 2.5" wide, 1" thick and 8" long, planed two faces to give a bit of example of what it looks like, the quartered grain is particularly pretty.

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Why hoard such a teeny bit of wood you might ask? You'll never know when you may need it :cool:
 

Trevanion

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You see Trev, that looks like oak to me. Everything looks like oak to me!
You'd be able to tell the difference once you've got some in hand, it's a bit heavier than oak, shines a nice golden colour when caught in the sunlight (Another name for the timber is actually "Golden Chain" but that's because of the tree itself) and the dust is pretty nasty comparatively, but it is rather nice stuff to work.
 

AJB Temple

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Yes.

But if all you have got is a hammer, then every problem is a nail. Right now I have a shed load (literally) of oak and no laburnum. If the guy who made the originals was in my position, those chairs would have been oak and we would not be discussing it.

By the same principle, all whit meat tastes like chicken. Even alligator (which has a horrid muddy fish taste IMO).

Actually, Custard's suggestion has resulted in a call about a tree and I have super kind offers from a couple members here.

The other good news is I have an excuse to buy some carving tools (the ones I have are more model making scale) :)
 

Phil Pascoe

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Thanks Phil. Can't see laburnum on their site. Will ring them on Monday.
I've had a reply from Kim, he has none at the moment. He gets some stunning stuff, he has a furniture maker from Suffolk or Sussex (I forget which, they're both "abroad" to me:)) come down with a 7.5 ton lorry for wood.
 

ScottandSargeant

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As a (very rare) paid job I have been asked if I will make a chair out of Laburnum. There is no rush. It is to replace one of a pair of 17th century laburnum chairs, one of which was very badly damaged in a fire (and which will be given to me as a template in due course).

For reference it is a Gothic arch back chair that looks a bit like this but quite a bit simpler and somewhat earlier. (This pic borrowed from Pegs & Tails excellent site as I was hunting around for examples in the hope of finding a construction plan).

View attachment 92472

I have had a scoot around on-line to find a source of Laburnum in suitable dimensions (I can laminate to make the legs) but have drawn a blank on stock, even though some of my usual places list it. We don't know whether the original is common or alpine and so don't really mind which of the two variants. If anyone knows a source who has or may have stock over the next 3 months, please let me know.

PS: I am not doing the finishing, that will be done by an antique restorer. The chair was quite an important piece in its setting and the owner (a historical trust that I am peripherally associated with) was quoted a sum of several thousand pounds to replicate the original. I am not an expert chair maker but I have made a number of ornate chairs over the years. Finding wood is the first hurdle. I will be making a trial run out of oak for myself and to template.

Thanks, Adrian
 

MikeG.

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A friend of mine has just felled an English elm, and will be planking it shortly. It would produce a through-and-through board of getting on for 2 feet wide, I reckon. I know he'd sell me a board or two if I asked, so I could pass a suitable size piece on to you, but of course it would need seasoning. It was standing alive, and undamaged by beetle (there are a surprising number like that around here).
 
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dutchboy

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Thanks Dutchboy I will calculate and PM you. Chairs don't use an enormous amount of wood (though I am making two) - the tricky part being the seat if indeed that is Laburnum. I won't be able to check until Monday or Tuesday, when I am hopefully picking the damaged one up.
👍
 

AJB Temple

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Yes, in a way. The boards have been obtained for me. To get the thickness necessary to achieve the shaped seat, I am going to have to thin down two board lengths and laminate them. The reason for thinning is that if I just stick a board on top, the shaping will go through the top one and it will show.

The original seat was actually made from a single piece of wood as far as we can tell. Needless to say we did not manage to source boards anything like that wide (or thick for that matter). Much discussion was had about using elm instead, as a one piece board is readily done since I have elm of suitable dimension available. However, the owners decided that can be a fallback plan if laburnum does not work.

Discussion is ongoing about constructing the seat. It needs two planks (per layer) to get the width, and I obviously cannot just join it in the middle as that creates a trap door risk if the join fails. I have a couple of solutions in mind, one of which is to cross ply the bottom layer and edge band it to disguise the end grain. It will be a visible construction method from below but not really at all obvious from the sides. For the top I think rather than a centre join line I will do a central panel and a narrow section on each side. This will be hard to spot if I am careful with timber selection. It's not that different to doing fancy electric guitar tops. Nearly all of the Laburnum is consistently grained. We have two trees worth apparently and each tree is quite different. One has a great deal more colour variation. So far I have cut a few small pieces, and finishing tests are underway, as the key thing is to match the undamaged chair.

I still have some reservations, but this is not the place for them. I am now in possession of the original chair. It is quite beautiful, but from close up some of the joining is surprisingly rough and there are also well disguised minor repairs from times past.

Interestingly the ever helpful Custard was kind enough to help me with a few samples. These were of quite uniform grain too and also uniform colour. The planks that I have put through the PT so far (it was all just rough sawn) are much lighter, but I understand from Custard that air exposure has quite an effect.

Thanks for everyone's help and interest. It's a confidential project so I am on my own now.

Adrian
 

marcros

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Yes, in a way. The boards have been obtained for me. To get the thickness necessary to achieve the shaped seat, I am going to have to thin down two board lengths and laminate them. The reason for thinning is that if I just stick a board on top, the shaping will go through the top one and it will show.

The original seat was actually made from a single piece of wood as far as we can tell. Needless to say we did not manage to source boards anything like that wide (or thick for that matter). Much discussion was had about using elm instead, as a one piece board is readily done since I have elm of suitable dimension available. However, the owners decided that can be a fallback plan if laburnum does not work.

Discussion is ongoing about constructing the seat. It needs two planks (per layer) to get the width, and I obviously cannot just join it in the middle as that creates a trap door risk if the join fails. I have a couple of solutions in mind, one of which is to cross ply the bottom layer and edge band it to disguise the end grain. It will be a visible construction method from below but not really at all obvious from the sides. For the top I think rather than a centre join line I will do a central panel and a narrow section on each side. This will be hard to spot if I am careful with timber selection. It's not that different to doing fancy electric guitar tops. Nearly all of the Laburnum is consistently grained. We have two trees worth apparently and each tree is quite different. One has a great deal more colour variation. So far I have cut a few small pieces, and finishing tests are underway, as the key thing is to match the undamaged chair.

I still have some reservations, but this is not the place for them. I am now in possession of the original chair. It is quite beautiful, but from close up some of the joining is surprisingly rough and there are also well disguised minor repairs from times past.

Interestingly the ever helpful Custard was kind enough to help me with a few samples. These were of quite uniform grain too and also uniform colour. The planks that I have put through the PT so far (it was all just rough sawn) are much lighter, but I understand from Custard that air exposure has quite an effect.

Thanks for everyone's help and interest. It's a confidential project so I am on my own now.

Adrian
good luck. understand re the confidential nature of the project.
 
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